There is probably no work environment as complex or unconventional as a remote site.
Remote in relation to its distance from home life and reliable logistical support, these sites brings multiple challenges: cultural diversity, extreme climates, safety, limited accessibility and local resources as well as environmental protection concerns. These workplaces - where employees also live - call for unique skills including out-of-the-box human resource management.
Sodexo relies first and foremost on its people to provide Quality of Life services and innovative remote site programs that create the best living and working conditions so that those we serve feel safe, comfortable and engaged. Creating the day-to-day conditions for Quality of Life for those who work on mine sites, offshore platforms, large civil engineering/construction projects and peace-keeping missions does not come easy. These unconventional environments call for people who are capable of facing the unknown with professionalism, enthusiasm, and resilience.
On remote sites, working and living conditions can be extreme and often mean isolation, harsh climates and separation from family and friends. These factors can be as much a cause of anxiety and strain as a pole of attraction for those seeking exciting new challenges and extraordinary experiences. This is true of both our clients’ employees and our own teams.
Ensuring a “zero harm” environment on remote sites is just as challenging as in more traditional industrial or manufacturing settings – if not more so. Sodexo’s commitment to promoting safety is fully aligned with our clients’ demanding standards and practices. Our safety culture is framed by rigorous global reporting of lagging and leading performance indicators, ongoing training and certification programs for operations and on-site staff as well as regular audits to steer continuous improvement.
Sodexo addresses the needs of remote-site communities through a combination of deep consumer knowledge and understanding of each client’s performance drivers and site specificities, expressed through our expertise in a vast range of services. Our drive to innovate is embedded in Sodexo’s culture and values, fuelled by putting the people we serve at the heart of everything we do.
Our Remote Site teams focus on delivering services that improve the Quality of Life of those we serve by addressing the following four dimensions:
- PROMOTING WELLNESS AND WELLBEING
- EASING THE EFFECTS OF ISOLATION
- CREATING CONDITIONS TO LIVE BETTER TOGETHER ON-SITE
- PROVIDING PLEASANT SURROUNDINGS THAT RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT
Promoting all aspects of wellness and wellbeing is fundamental to responding to the health and psychological challenges often encountered in remote site communities. With this in mind, Sodexo has cre¬ated unique programs that encompass nutrition, physical and recreational activities as well as access to communication channels, which in turn help counter absenteeism, staff turnover, accidents, productivity loss and costly health care expenditure.
Our lifestyle solutions are designed to engage remote-site residents and their families with incentive-based programs, including Sodexo coaches who stay connected with them both on and off site, to encourage and reward the adoption of healthy behaviours at work and on leave.
“Passing the time” is endemic to remote-site life. The regularity and conviviality of meal-time is often the highlight of the day. Sodexo manages sites that can number thousands of residents from dozens of different countries and cultures. Our teams’ expertise is expressed through the many dining options we design to satisfy the most diverse range of tastes and eating preferences based on residents’ country of origin, religious practices, nutritional requirements and holiday celebrations.
Understanding and responding to remote-site workers’ need for regularity and continuity is fundamental to reducing the complex impacts of isolation which can affect social interactions and their attitude to health and safety risks. Easing the effects of isolation is critical to helping residents stay motivated, which in turn impacts team dynamics, performance and productivity. Empowering remote site residents with the means to stay connected with their offsite life and play an active role in their lives back home helps bridge the separation gap, improving their work-life balance.
Anticipating the unexpected in the most isolated locations
Sodexo teams understand how critical it is to anticipate the un¬expected on remote locations and manage sites as if they were small towns. Partnering with local communities and suppliers is essential to ensuring each site’s autonomy and efficiency. Our teams excel at managing complex logistics and also provide a wide range of service including purchasing and transportation, potable water distribution, energy and waste management, fire-fighting, security and road safety in addition to food, accommodation and hospitality services.
Remote sites often foster very strong ties among residents that help create a sense of community in the most isolated – and sometimes most hostile – parts of the world. Two main factors drive this sense of community: respect of cultural diversity and a harmonious balance between individual privacy and collective, communal activities.
Our strong ties and partnerships with First Nations and indigenous communities within project “zones of influence” promote job skills transfer and the sustainability of local stakeholders. Rich, complex cultural diversity on remote sites is also a reality because they bring people together from all over the world. One of Sodexo’s recognized strengths is the diversity of our own teams – most often hired from the local communities in and around project sites - which positions us to understand and address the specificities of our clients’ and consumers’ expectations and needs. To encourage successful cohabitation, our practices promote awareness of and sensitivity to differences.
Blurred lines between professional and private life is another challenge to ensuring Quality of Life on remote sites. An essential factor to living better together on-site is finding the right balance between promoting collective activities and respecting everyone’s personal space. Here again, Sodexo’s experience comes into play with dedicated programs to encourage social interaction and provide the conditions that allow for privacy and down-time.
Well-designed and maintained facilities are essential to providing the surroundings in which remote site residents feel safe, comfortable and engaged. Careful consideration of the settings in which they work and live contributes to attracting, motivating and retaining them.
Remote site workers have increasingly demanding expectations for comfort, privacy and convenience in places where loss of space and time markers, monotony, and cramped living quarters are often the norm. Younger generations of workers are more and more attentive to how their employers and on-site service providers commit to minimizing negative impacts on the environment through sustainable initiatives that optimize energy consumption (water, electricity, fuel…) and effectively manage waste and recycling.
Sodexo’s expertise in the design, refurbishment and operation of remote site facilities, whether on or offshore, responds to these expectations with conviviality, efficiency and sustainability as guiding principles. For more information, click here.